A reader! Psychotica fanfic for Missiongenocide's Cursed project.
Light in this small, dark room makes you freeze instinctively. Light means one of two things, the people have come in to start cutting you up again, and the people have come in to light the torches and burn the feathers from your wings, which is less painful but still unpleasant. Though its not like you could really go much of anywhere anyway, you have had heavy railroad spikes driven through your arms and legs as soon as these people had discovered you where cursed and so you where stuck to the back wall in the 'Chamber of Perfect Sorrow' a small room you knew from listening carefully to everyone was in the middle of a larger building called the 'Temple of the First Tree'. You never have been allowed outside the temple, even before you where cursed, but now Shun's power allowed you to be aware of the outside world, that you had spend your life imprisoned and needed get out some day, some how.
You eyes could pick up every faint movement, leaving a faint staggered afterimage, you could see the robes, dark blue and embroidered with stars and a barren tree on each side in yellow thread, even in this dim light, the small silvery trails of a fly moving through the chamber, and looking towards the light of the torches your eyes hurt from the brightness. But your ears told you even more, as stuck here as you are you have learned to rely on them for news. As the temple was quiet every other day, you could easily hear Outside. Outside you have picked up wind, grass blowing, the cawing and chirping of birds, people talking and even the odd barking of a dog. You have spent your whole life not knowing of these things, having never seen these things, yet now you can hear them, and long to be out of this dark, chilly cave of a room.
While you may have been sheltered and safe growing up, in retrospect you where still not treated as a child should. When these people, who called themselves 'The Followers of the Dead Oak' found that one of their member was pregnant with something they called a 'Heaven Child' they where ecstatic, finally, it seemed to them that their Dead Oak had gone and favored them by putting the one class of person who could harm him into right into their hands. They had, even then, bled you until you where dizzy, somehow believing that drinking your blood would imbue them with the empathy of the divinely empowered, but you didn't get what made you so special until those convulsions started. This made you seem to them even more sacred,both angelic and prophetic. They started when you where very young an even now come whenever you have too much stimulation, which with your sacred punishment means these cult people have to be quite careful you aren't convulsing all the time.
As for the punishment itself, it happened one day when, in a fit of pique, you decided to try running away from the Cult of the Dead Oak. You had had a fight with one of the people tasked with keeping you alive and well, of the three of them he was the most stubborn and forced you to follow the largest amount of silly rules. He watched how you ate, what you said and what you did like he was looking for an enemy ship on the horizon and yelled at you whenever you got the slightest out of line. You still sometimes see the craggy old scoundrel in the crowd of worshipers, though he seems a bit guilty for how he treated you back then. You ran out of the room you had been told to stay in because the 'cops', whatever they where, where going to enter the building and seeing you would be bad, but in your anger you ran right out of there and right towards the door, which opened at that moment and you got an eyefull of a flashlight from these 'cops' people, a man and a woman wearing odd blue clothes and hats like a soldier might wear, and this set off a particularly nasty convulsion, you injured the woman's wrist with your flying arm and the man fled the scene to call the 'ambulance', whatever the Shun that was. The woman had her hand in your mouth, trying to keep you from choking, a kindness you realized just then had been never given to you before. It was then that the cult's 'Sacred Master' finally showed his face in person, and everyone but the woman in the blue clothes, who was too confused to do much of anything, and you, who where too busy convulsing still, bowed to the floor.
The small, skeletal figure looked around the room with a careful, scanning gaze, "I think you are disgusting." The group reacted in shock, some gasping, a few stammering out apologies and excuses. You did not know it at the time, but you would learn later that the mighty Shun had walked up to you and told everyone present, "This is what I think of you worshiping me." and grabbed your writhing other arm with perfect timing in his own frail hand, transforming you on the spot. Though he looked oddly gleeful when he saw the wings push out of your back, glossy black and shiny like the wing of a crow, "Heh, so they where right about the 'Heaven Child' nonsense. I suppose even a fool is right every once in while." With that, he parted through the chamber door and went out the back wall of the building, leaving you to writhe so hard and extremely that it cracked the woman in the blue clothing's other wrist and forced her to flee. You had spent the next three days convulsing with such violence that you thought your body would tear itself apart at the seams, your every muscle was a mass of ache from the exertion by the time you finally stopped your writhing.
The cultists had then decided to use railroad spikes to bolt you into the wall of their inner sanctum. The thick metal felt very painful going in but not as much as your body ached already, and you where too exhausted at the moment to fight back anyway, so you just let them. The Followers of the Dead Oak told you that it was for your own safety, but you could now see in their faces with your keen new eyes that they where now SCARED of you. Even as the rituals involving you intensified, moving into ever more intensive tortures of you to attempt to make it up to their enraged god, it was the convulsions that really hurt, on those occasions you still had them, almost to the point you could ignore the ritual carving they left in your bare chest. They could last for only hours, or they could go on for days like the original convulsion did, and every time it was as though your muscles would tear free of your bones.
But today, in that lit doorway, you did not see the cultists. Who you saw was a group of four people, one a shorter blonde woman wrapped in branches, one a tall emaciated young man covered in long, spiked metal wires, a medium height man with swordlike blades coming out of him and a slouched teenager with glowing gaslike...stuff coming out of him and looping back into his body, glowing faintly greenish-gold. You saw the subtle subdued nature of their movements, heard their ragged breathing as they searched the darkened chamber with a flashlight, and though your punishment did not affect your sense of smell, when they got close you could smell they had the same woody smell as you.
The man with sword skin asked in a voice that, while warm, had the same subtle whisper as your own, "What are we looking for here?"
The short woman replied, "That police woman told us there was a cursed in here." They where whispering as quietly as they could, so you heard their speech as being at the loud side of a normal conversation.
Then the flashlight landed on your feet. You slammed your eyes shut to try avoiding the pain of convulsing and sensory overload, but the roar of her shouting, so loud from being right next to you you could not make out the words, drowned out your thoughts and made your body lash out of control. Everything for the next while was a mass of roaring, flashing images, dancing lights and body-tearing pain. It was not for a long time that you learned what had happened. When your nightmare of sensory overload and thrashing and agony had stopped, you where laying outside on the grass with the four people who you had seen earlier, with the sun setting behind you. The woman walked over to you carefully and spoke to you as quietly as she could, "I'm sorry I yelled, I didn't know better, now I do. I'm called Claire." It still sounded like someone who was trying to talk over a noisy crowd to you, but it was a lot better.
You tried to explain, to her, but since it has been so long since you have spoke it was hard to get the sounds out of your mouth, "My ears...my eyes, sensitive..." The branch-covered woman said, "I know, I can...I have seen your memories in front of my eyes. I don't know how I can do that, sorry. You are like me, those wings say so...and now your free, look." She gave a small but encouraging grin.
You did look, and you did see and hear, your sharp senses encompassing everything. The wind on your skin coming from the east, the hoot of an owl far in the distance, yet like it was near you, the pumping hearts and cracking joints of the wire-covered man near you. So many more things that could make you convulse...yet so many more things you could also experience for the first time, without anyone hitting or yelling at you for doing so. You where FREE just like this Claire had said.
Experimentally, you slowly stood up...you where still sore from the thrashing...and spread your wings, starting to stretch them. You looked back at the group of people behind you, your own kind had saved you at last, a sign of Shun's disapproval like you always had hoped. You knew what he had meant the day he cursed you, unlike the others. You look towards the dark east and start to pump your wings, sending a gust of air, roaring air that filled your ears and made them ache, but you had to try this...after several minutes, you slowly rose into the sky and find out that above the trees, everything was a little more quiet, a little more tolerable, the air rushing past you as you slowly head back down to a tree and land on a thick branch. You could see Claire run up to you below where you sat, she whisperes up to you, "Be careful, ok?"
You spoke back, "I...will, and thank you."